On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, Docket No. L-5601-06.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Fisher, Sapp-Peterson and Espinosa.
Plaintiff George R. Szymanski (plaintiff) commenced this action for damages based on an attorneys' lien he claims attached to the settlement funds received by his former client, defendant Jessica Allen (Allen), in a personal injury suit plaintiff commenced on her behalf. The settlement was achieved after plaintiff was replaced as Allen's attorney by defendants Harris C. Legome, Bruce A. Wallace, and Wallace & Legome, LLP (defendants).
In discovery, plaintiff had responded to an interrogatory requesting a detailed description of the services he performed on Allen's behalf by stating that the task was "nearly impossible." Notwithstanding, at trial, plaintiff attempted to offer a detailed estimate and description of the services he provided, which the judge barred; following that, the judge granted an involuntary dismissal in defendants' favor.*fn1
Plaintiff appealed, raising the following arguments for our consideration:
I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT AWARDING [PLAINTIFF] A PERCENTAGE OF THE ATTORNEY FEES.
A. Background Of The Law Of Quantum Meruit In New Jersey.
B. [Plaintiff's] Contribution To The Outcome Of Jessica Allen's Case Was Greater Than That Of [Defendants].
C. [Plaintiff] Also Made A Significant Financial Contribution To Jessica Allen's Case.
D. [Plaintiff] And Jessica Allen Agreed How Quantum Meruit Would Be Measured.
II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE MOTION OF [DEFENDANT] FOR INVOLUNTARY DISMISSAL.
A. The Trial Court Could Not Have Dismissed [Plaintiff's] Case Against [Defendant] Until After The Case ...